The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.

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28. Red

Clay’s eyes widened in fear and he turned back and looked at Maddox. “What did you say?” he asked.

“You heard me,” he whispered. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out something silver and narrowed his eyes. “It’s simple – kill her or I’ll kill you.”

Clay stared at the knife. “Why does she have to die?” His voice trembled.

“Everyone dies eventually, so why don’t you just end her now?” Maddox smiled and it was frightening. Then he looked at me. “Would you rather kill Cari?”

My heart sank even deeper. First for Lena, then for myself. I didn't want her to die and I certainly didn't want to die, not by the hands of this man and not by the hands of Clay.

"No," Clay said, shaking his head. "I don't want to kill either of them. I won't fucking do that."

"Yes, you will," Maddox hissed, as he gripped a chunk of Clay's hair and pressed the blade of the knife into his cheek. "I told you if you didn't, I would kill you. Do you think I'm lying?"

To make his point, he turned the blade and started to cut Clay's skin. All I could see was red dripping down onto his neck.

"Stop!" I shouted. "Please!"

Maddox frowned, threw Clay aside and grabbed Lena. "Fine," he hissed. "I'll kill her then."

Lena struggled against him, trying to dig her nails into his hand to pry him away. "Let go," she cried.

"Lena!" I screamed. My vision blurred. I sank to my knees and watched what happened next.

Clay stood, his eyes swimming with tears, and he touched the handle of the knife. He took it, stared at Lena sadly, grabbed her shoulder, and drove the weapon into her stomach.

Lena gasped, made a gurgling sound, and fell against Clay. He held her and looked at me with the most horrified expression in his blue eyes. When he let her fall to the floor, he dropped the knife and started to cry.

Behind him, Maddox smiled approvingly, and shoved Clay toward me. I caught him in a hug and he buried his face into my shoulder, his hands trembling as he wrapped them around me.

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